There is so much gear out there for the DSLR shooter to choose from these days, and over the past year I have found 3 areas where you can save a ton of money and not compromise on quality. And yes there are other things to save money on but the items I want to talk about are necessities to every DSLR video shooter.
1. DSLR Batteries
Everyone needs power. And the brand name batteries aren’t cheap. Right now the Canon brand LP-E6 battery for the 60D/7D/5D is $60. Thats a tall order when you need 6 of them. But there is a different brand I have been buying from and their battery is only $16. The Maxtek LP-E6v batteries have performed great for me. Big savings. Now for the price of 1 Canon LP-E6 battery I can buy almost 4 off brand ones.
The same good news goes for T2i/T3i batteries. $40 for the Canon’s and only $9 for 2 off brand ones. Apparently there are fakes out there. Check out this comment for more.
Now that you can actually afford to buy several batteries you should consider grabbing a dual charger (T2i version here). Has Saved me tons of time and works with pretty much every brand.
2. CF and SD Cards
Everyone also needs a couple cards, some times 2 types of cards. There are so many different brands out there its difficult to figure out which ones are affordable AND reliable.
Quick disclaimer: With EVERY card brand there is a chance the card will die. Not every card brand is safe. I only work with 8GB and 16GB cards and I back them up all the time. So don’t come crying and cursing at me if your card dies. It sucks, and it happens. One brand I have found to be working great for me is the Transcend brand. $50 for a 16GB 400x CF card is a great deal. Same with the SD only $22 for a class 10 16GB SD. These prices are around half or more the price of compatible cards.
I have 2 of these CF cards and 2 of the SD cards and none of them have failed me which doesn’t mean they will never fail, but I would still recommend them. And don’t forget a good card reader.
3. Prime Lenses
This one is a little more subjective. I get emails all the time from people looking for a prime lens for shooting video on their DSLR. Its seems most people only consider Canon lenses for Canon DSLRs. Or Sony lenses for Sony cameras. But there is a whole world of other options out there, my favorite being manual Nikkor lenses. I get all my lenses from KEH.com they have a great rating system and fantastic warranties.
With Nikkor primes you have 3 levels. Non-AI (Cheapest) AI (Middle) and AIS (Higher). And for killer savings check out the older Non-AI “Nippon Kogaku” Nikkor lenses like this 50mm F1.4 for under $100.
All 3 types work well with an adaptor to Canon cameras. If you are a Nikon shooter check out this Nikon chart to see what your compatibility will be. I have a set of AIS primes and I LOVE them. They all match in color, very sharp, and they are affordable. If you’re low on cash grab a set of the Non-AI and upgrade down the road.
To attach all these magical lenses to your camera you will need an adaptor which will only set you back around 15 bucks.
So there you have it. 3 areas you can save some serious cash especially if you are getting started. So for $200 you could get a fast 50mm, a card or two and some batteries.
Have you got some money saving tips? I’d love to hear what gear you guys have found to save you some money.
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